Poetry, chapbook, 40 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
In their debut chapbook, Swallowing the Ash, Reynolds examines ways to weaponize and abandon girlhood after being assaulted. Looking at how trauma affects not only an individual but their family and community, Reynolds breaks down her experience and book in three parts: The Razing, The Aftermath, and The Volta. Throughout the book, Reynolds weaves a narrative of generational trauma through their assault narrative, hoping to find a resolution to something.
With dreams of radical kindness & hope, Reynolds also grapples with vigilante feminism and rehabilitative justice. In a nation that constantly asks, “what happens to child molesters in a prisonless society?” Swallowing the Ash highlights that punitive justice doesn’t benefit victims, and does not decrease rates of assaults– that systemic issues mean we need to abolish the systems in place, not individuals.
Swallowing the Ash is a promise to Reynolds’s past self and a prayer to their future self. All this book yearns for is a future.
Laurel Reynolds (she/they) is a poet who attends the University of Minnesota for English Literature. They started as a slam poet and competed at Brave New Voices in 2019 with the threads and syntax of slam culture still being found in her written work. Their work often explores the connections between queerness, pop culture, trauma, and relationships. Laurel’s poems have been published in The Tower, The Current, The Incandescent Review, JAKE, and more; they have performed at Macalester College, Stepping Stone Theatre, the University of Nevada, and more. She will attend Brandeis’ joint English and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies MA program in the fall. Check them out at laurelreynolds.com!